Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

More Daily Wisdom - Selections

365 Buddhist Inspirations

JANUARY 1

If we are in a good mood when we get up in the morning, if there is a warm-hearted feeling within, automatically  our inner door is opened for that day. Even should an unfriendly person happen along, we would not experience much disturbance and might even manage to say something nice to that person. We could chat with the not-so-friendly person and perhaps even have a meaningful conversation. Once we create a friendly and positive atmosphere, it automatically helps to reduce fear and insecurity. In this way we can easily make more friends and create more smiles.

            The Dalai Lama in The Compassionate Life

 

JANUARY 2

We may need permission, from time to time, to allow ourselves to relax, to not be so hard on ourselves—to simply be at ease and happy. We need to learn to be kind to ourselves.

            Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche in Medicine & Compassion

 

JANUARY 3

If we are true to the steps we take, the travel makes sense and the journey confirms itself.

            Lin Jensen in Bad Dog!

 

JANUARY 4

In mindful gratitude

for such freedom as I have, may I overcome

ignorance and apathy

and become a force for good.

            Jean Smith in Now! The Art of Being Truly Present

 

JANUARY 5

One appears before one’s parents as a child, before one’s child as a parent, before one’s husband as a wife, before one’s wife as a husband. At work, the face and form one takes on depend upon the position one occupies. This is our true form. There is no clump called “I” moving from this spot to that spot, instant by instant. Rather, through particular encounters with particular people, within each encounter, within each transition, something called “I” makes its appearance. Thus it is that what seems to be outside yourself is, in reality, your complement, that which gives this instant of your life its glow.

            Soko Morinaga in Novice to Master

 

JANUARY 6

Hell does not exist from its own side; the negative mind makes it up.

            Lama Yeshe in Becoming the Compassion Buddha

 

JANUARY 7

Once I’d achieved my goal I had to admit to myself it wasn’t what I expected and that it did not in fact make everything perfect. And this will happen to anyone who attains any kind of “success” no matter how it is defined— even if success is defined as complete, unsurpassed, perfect enlightenment. You will discover upon reaching it that whatever it is, it’s not what you expected and nothing is any more perfect than it ever was.

            Brad Warner in Hardcore Zen

 

JANUARY 8

We can be surprised by the “obvious” questions beginners ask that perhaps we ourselves could have asked.

            Sumi Loundon in Blue Jean Buddha

 

JANUARY 9

The scriptures say that when the mind indulges in sensual objects, it becomes agitated. This is the usual state of affairs in the world, as we can observe. In their quest for happiness, people mistake excitement of the mind for real happiness. They never have the chance to experience the greater joy that comes with peace and tranquility.

            Sayadaw U Pandita in In This Very Life

 

JANUARY 10

Wherever a person goes, his deeds, like a shadow, will follow.

            “Advice to a King Sutra” in The Three Levels of Spiritual Perception

 

JANUARY 11

If a thought arises, take note of it and then dismiss it. When you forget all attachments steadfastly, you will naturally become zazen itself. This is the art of zazen. Zazen is the Dharma-gate of great repose and joy.

            Eihei Dogen in Eigei Dogen: Mystal Realist

 

JANUARY 12

The source of our own happiness is within ourselves.

            Geshe Teshi Tsering in The Four Noble Truths

 

JANUARY 13

The Buddha stated clearly that saying only what is true is not sufficient for skillful speech. Speaking skillfully also requires saying what is useful for the listener to hear.

            Rodney Smith in The Wisdom of Listening

 

JANUARY 14

No matter how wise and compassionate our teachers may be, they cannot walk the path for us.

            D. Loy and L. Goodhew in The Dharma of Dragons and Daemons

 

JANUARY 15

If you want enlightenment, abandon to its depths all ordinary attachment to deeds and behavior, principles and obligations, opinions and interpretations; be as before the birth of your mother and father, separate from all external phenomena, neither sinking into internal quiet nor settling in the void.

            Bassui in Mud and Water

 

JANUARY 16

When others out of jealousy treat me wrongly with abuse and slander, I shall train to take upon myself the defeat and offer to others the victory.

            Langri Tangpa in Mind Training

 

JANUARY 17

We say that mental activity is like the deadly poisonous cobra. If we don’t interfere with a cobra, it simply goes its own way. Even though it may be extremely poisonous, we are not affected by it; we don’t go near it or take hold of it, and it doesn’t bite us. The cobra does what is natural for a cobra to do. That’s the way it is. If you are clever you’ll leave it alone. And so you let be that which is good. You also let be that which is not good—let it be according to its own nature. Let be your liking and your disliking. Treat them the same way as you treat the cobra. Don’t interfere.

            Ajahn Chah in Food for the Heart

 

JANUARY 18

Love is not something you have or don’t have. It is not a possession. It is what you are.

            Ellen & Charles Birx in Waking Up Together

 

JANUARY 19

In short, whatever I may do throughout my activities,

I ask, “What is my mind doing?”

Thus, it is the practice of bodhisattvas to accomplish the benefit of others

with continuous mindfulness and conscientiousness.

            Gyalse Togme in Uniting Wisdom and Compassion

 

JANUARY 20

We suffer because we assume we can find happiness only in certain things—and fail to see that the things we love are not confined to a particular time and space, but are always all around us.

            Matthew Bortolin in The Dharma of Star Wars

 

JANUARY 21

In asana practice, we can begin to see how reactive we are. As we go deeper into a stretch and the sensations become more intense, just because they are different, we may find ourselves tightening up our muscles, holding our breath, and constricting our mind in aversion. Or we may begin to see how quickly we get attached to pleasant sensations, and how we seek to prolong them and struggle to get  them back when they are lost. These reactive behaviors  are all the cause of dukkha, suffering, and in our practice we can learn how to let them go.

            Frank Jude Boccio in Mindfulness Yoga

 

JANUARY 22

Problems tend to contain within themselves both their causes and their solutions.

            John Dashin Buksbazen in Zen Meditation in Plain English

 

JANUARY 23

Where there is confusion is where peace can arise. When confusion is penetrated with understanding, what remains is peace.

            Ajahn Chah in Food for the Heart

 

JANUARY 24

In reality, all of us are nothing but Buddha nature.

            Taizan Maezumi in On Zen Practice

 

JANUARY 25

In taking refuge in the Buddha, we return home to the principle of awakening and trust the enlightening ones of the world to guide us, also radically trusting our own true, awakened self. We return home to our deepest, kindest, most dynamic and open self, the self that is fully interconnected and integrated with all others, beyond our conditioned prejudices about our estrangement. This taking refuge is a psychological orientation and direction, and also the fundamental formal ritual and practice of Buddhism.

            Taigen Dan Leighton in Faces of Compassion

 

JANUARY 26

If I were to sum up the past forty years of my life, the time since I became a monk, I would have to say that it has been an ongoing lesson in the extent of my own stupidity.

            Soko Morinaga in Novice to Master

 

JANUARY 27

This place of mine

never is entered by humans

come for conversation,

only by the mute moon’s light shafts

that slip in between the trees.

            Saigyo in Awesome Nightfall

 

JANUARY 28

If I want happiness, I simply need to stop causing myself suffering and cultivate happiness. How? It is a process   of developing awareness, cultivating determination, and actually doing. But it is a long and difficult process. Sometimes I am so confused and do not understand these basic, simple facts. Instead, I follow delusions when they arise, give power to them, and expect to have happiness as the result. I continue to do non-virtuous actions and don’t know why I’m unhappy.

            Thubten Pemo (Linda Grossman) in Spiritual Friends

 

JANUARY 29

Fear is finding fault with the future.

            Ajahn Brahm in Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?

 

JANUARY 30

We always imagine that there’s got to be somewhere else better than where we are right now; this is the great Somewhere Else we all carry around in our heads. We believe Somewhere Else is out there for us if only we could find it. But there’s no Somewhere Else. Everything is right here.

            Brad Warner in Hardcore Zen

 

JANUARY 31

From amid the dark labyrinths of samsara, a being arises— always in the human realm—who unravels the intricate tangle of conditions that sustain this process of bondage and thereby discovers, by his own unaided wisdom, the lost path to Nirvana, the unconditioned state of perfect bliss, peace, and freedom. This being is a Buddha.

            Bhikkhu Bodhi in Great Disciples of the Buddha

 

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© Wisdom Publications, More Daily Wisdom (Wisdom Publications, 2006)

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